Celebrating Excellent Women Eileen Gu

Article by Jin Zhou

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (March 8th) is: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” This year’s campaign is represented by the #BreakTheBias hashtag and calls on people to work towards a world that is equitable, inclusive, and free from bias and discrimination, so the playing field is levelled for women moving forward..

Olympic gold medalist Eileen Gu took to Instagram this International Women’s Day to share a speech she gave at 12 years old about women’s empowerment and representation, in which she said “Although being a girl in a male-dominated sport can be difficult, I’m actually thankful that I’ve had the experiences that I had, my experiences have made me more tenacious and have taught me to meet my setbacks in life with open arms. In fact, after this encounter, I’ve become a better skiier. I encourage you all to step out of your comfort zone.”

In her post, the new Olympic gold medalist also celebrated her achievements and thanked the women in her life by sharing photos of herself, her mother and her grandmother. For those who are not familiar with who she is, here are some basic facts about her:

Eileen Gu, also known by her Chinese name Gu Ailing, is a Chinese-American freestyle skier, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and model. Eileen Gu was born in San Francisco to an American father and a Chinese mother, Yan Gu. In her youth, she competed for the USA before announcing her decision to compete for China on Instagram and the Chinese messenger service Sina Weibo when she was 15.

Shining not just in sports, Gu excels in academics as well. She has received an offer from the globally renowned Stanford University, her mother’s alma mater. Recently, Eileen Gu’s English and Chinese responses to media questions have been confident, polished and curated, which are particularly impressive given she is just 18 years old. Here are some examples:

“I am proud of my heritage, and equally proud of my American upbringing. The opportunity to help inspire millions of young people where my mom was born, during the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help to promote the sport I love.”

“I chose to ski for China because there’s this massive opportunity to spread the sport to people who haven’t even heard of it before. And honestly, I have met my goal. There are 300 million people on snow in China, and to have even influenced a tiny fraction of that makes me immensely proud.”

“Here’s the thing – I’m not trying to keep anyone happy – I’m an 18-year-old girl out here living my best life, it doesn’t matter if other people are happy or not. Because I feel as though I am doing my best. I’m enjoying the entire process and I’m using my voice to create as much positive change as I can for the voices who will listen to me in an area that is personal and relevant to myself. So, yeah, if people don’t believe me and people don’t like me, that’s their loss. They’re never going to win the Olympics.” said Eileen in reference to a question about how hard it was to keep China and the US happy.

“Though my views of myself and the world are constantly evolving, one thing is for certain: no matter how much time passes, I’ll always be a hopeless romantic when it comes to fear.” –Wrote in her personal statement applying for Stanford University.